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November 24, 2010

Tarek Fatah spreads fear and hatred on CBC

The Canadian Charger

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Since Tarek Fatah immigrated to Canada in 1987, he tried his hand at politics twice and failed both times, first with the NDP and then with the Liberals. He tried to be a journalist and a writer, but could not find employment. But after 9/11, he landed a good job writing books and articles attacking Canadian Muslims.

In a recent edition of the CBC radio show The Sunday Edition with Michael Enright, Mr. Fatah made a number of irresponsible comments, spreading fear and hatred of Canadian Muslims. Mr. Enright was compelled to draw allusions to McCarthyite scaremongering.

The interview begins with Mr. Fatah saying that he agreed with Defence Minister Peter MacKay’s last-minute decision to cancel a speech by Imam Dr. Zijad Delic, National Executive Director of The Canadian Islamic Congress (CIC), who had been invited to address a Department of National Defence forum on Oct. 3. He said Dr. Delic is not qualified to give a speech about the role of Muslims in Canada because he’s not a historian:

“The notion that someone who leads prayers should lecture the Canadian military in a history lesson is repulsive to the Canadian military itself. Since when did the Canadian military have to listen to a cleric to understand the concept of history whether it is Christian, Islamic or Judaic.”

Mr. Fatah then defended himself with this unsubstantiated allegation:

“Those officers who wanted him there are themselves military officers who are Muslim, a Pakistani and Egyptian, who used their position in the military caucus at the DND (Department of National Defence) to stage this invitation. Many folks are reluctant, to challenge this. I didn’t migrate to a country 6,000 miles away to escape jihadism and to find them welcome in the Department of National Defence.”

Mr. Fatah levied a very serious charge against DND’s Muslim employees, but try as he might throughout the interview, Mr. Enright was unable to get Mr. Fatah to substantiate it.

With regard to Dr. Delic’s cancelled speech, the text of which was made public, Fatah said the speech came about after the event, and, even if it were the original speech, it would have had no effect: “It was a lot of ‘Can’t we all get along together category of speech’ which means absolutely nothing,” he said.

Fatah neglected to mention that such a speech is the antithesis of “a call to jihad,” but this point was not lost on Mr. Enright:

“[Dr.  Delic talks about how it’s important for] Canadian Muslims to integrate into society, pluralism, while at the same time maintaining their Muslim beliefs and that Canada is an ideal country for this to flourish.”

Fatah ignored these facts as presented by Mr. Enright, and came out with another unsubstantiated allegation: that the doctrine of jihad is being propagated at schools, universities and mosques across Canada.

“There’s only one doctrine required for any man of the cloth in my faith: is he or is he willing to renounce the doctrine of armed jihad, as pronounced by the Muslim Brotherhood, as propagated in almost every urban high school and urban university in this country? Is he going to say that the application of sharia law in the 21st century is inapplicable, cannot be applied, and has to be rejected?”

Mr. Enright continued to press: “You and some of the people in your organization say that Islamists have infiltrated some of the highest reaches of the RCMP, foreign affairs, the government, CSIS, and so how do you know this?”

“I’ve sat with them; I’ve sat in a meeting with senior CSIS and RCMP officials in what is called the cultural roundtable conference, something of that sort, but the Deputy Minister of Security and Safety was sitting there,” Mr. Fatah said. “Guess who was in front of me facing me: the wife of one of the men charged in the Toronto 18, the lawyer for these guys. The amount of hate spilled out toward Canada and Western civilization. All the RCMP and CSIS officers had their heads down because they dare not say anything or they would be accused of being racist.”

If this were true, there are many other inferences one could draw from the RCMP and CSIS officials’ refusal to debate people spouting unreasonable opinions, but this incident recounted by Mr. Fatah in no way gives any indication of “jihadists” infiltrating the highest levels of the Canadian security apparatus.

“If it’s as pernicious as you say, and the infiltration…isn’t important to name the names?” asked Mr. Enright. “Did you report the names to CSIS? Who are these people?”

Mr. Fatah said he did report the names to CSIS, and these names were printed in the National Post, in a story by Stewart Bell two days after the meeting.

His answer was not enough to convince Mr. Enright, who further questioned Mr. Fatah’s allegations. “What’s the difference between suggesting that at the highest reaches…foreign affairs, CSIS, have been infiltrated by Islamists, and Joe McCarthy standing up in 1951 in West Virginia and saying there are 105 communists in the state department.”

“I’m not a senator. I’m at the bottom of the rung. The difference is that he was misusing his power and I’m telling you that these people are known to the military officers of the Canadian Armed Forces, whether junior or senior, who would invite an Imam who has no background in history who heads an organization that has worked for sharia law in this country, who said it’s legitimate to kill any Israeli civilian. Has the Canadian Islamic Congress renounced the doctrine of jihad and sharia law? It is a very simple question. I don’t think people have the courage to ask the question. The responsibility falls on ordinary Muslims like say enough is enough.”

After Mr. Enright pointed out that when Mr. Fatah says these institutions are infiltrated by “jihadists” or people who support the idea of jihad he was scaring the hell out of ordinary Canadians.

Fatah responded: “I hope they do get scared,” and then he gave an example of a gay Toronto MP, whom Mr. Fatah said was hassled by the Islamic community, so the MP invited a representative of the community out to lunch, a deed Mr. Fatah referred to as “being bullied into subservience.”

Mr. Enright said there are other ways to interpret this gesture of generosity, such as a sincere attempt at dialogue to try and resolve the problem.

Because Mr. Fatah presented no evidence of “infiltration of the highest levels of the Canadian security apparatus by Islamists,” after several attempts by Mr. Enright to get him to do so, Mr. Enright tried a different approach.

“Do you expose them by shutting them down or criticizing their arguments?” Mr. Enright asked.

“These Imams have about 500 mosques in this country and captive audiences that dare not stand up and object to them: it’s a one too many speech that’s done every Friday in every mosque,” Mr. Fatah said.

Although he avoided answering the question, Fatah seems to be suggesting that there are 500 mosques across Canada where jihad is being preached on a weekly basis, and no law enforcement officials, whom Mr. Fatah claims are aware of it, are willing to do anything about it.

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M. Elmasry

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